Butterfly populations are a very good indicator of the health of an area's ecosystem !!
An unusual feature of the Heliconian butterflies is that because of their diets, they can continue to live and lay eggs for several months, unlike most butterflies who have a life expectancy of only a few weeks. The reason for this is that while most butterflies can only sip fluids with their specalized mouths, Heliconians can take pollen as well as nectar, because their saliva enables them to dissolve the pollen and thus reap its benefits; (i.e. - Pollen is very nutritious and high in protein, which helps the Heliconians to prolong their lives, and continue producing eggs for several months.) As a result, Heliconians are more dependent on flowers than other types of butterflies, which makes them good pollinators.
Avg. Wingspan: 5.5 - 8 cm / 2 1/2 - 3 1/3 "
Diet: caterpillars feed on passion flower leaves, storing up toxic chemicals retained throughout their lifespan.
Diet: adults prefer flower nectar, rotting fruit, and pollen.
Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta, Order: Lepidoptera